Abortion and reproductive health have been in the news in a big way this past week:
The House in Arizona passed a bill to ban abortions performed on the basis of race or sex. This means women would have to justify the reason they want to have an abortion. This is especially problematic because a selective body could try and target a women’s race as the reason she wants an abortion rather than the fact that maybe she can’t afford to support a child at that stage in her life.
On Capitol Hill, Republican Congressman Pence is leading an attack against Planned Parenthood. He’s calling for the removal of funding for Title X, the national family planning program. Title X allows women to access birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing and Planned Parenthood health centers. One in five American women makes at least one visit to Planned Parenthood during their lifetime, so this will affect women both at the moment and in the future. The reasoning behind the bill? To cut funding to an organization that provides abortion. It is already illegal to use government money to fund abortions, meaning this bill is really just cutting down on the center’s ability to dole out information on safe-sex, test people for STDs and help women (including college women!) get affordable birth control.
Though South Dakota shut down its expansion of “justifiable homicide” bill to include abortion providers, the state is still set on making changes to reproductive health laws. Under House Bill 1217, a women would have to jump through health-assessment hoops in order to access a legal abortion. It means that a woman considering abortion would have to go through two consultations and wait 72 hours before she could schedule the procedure. Like the bill in Arizona, this targets low-income women. 98 percent of South Dakota counties did not have an abortion provider, meaning women would need to take time to travel out of their way for counseling, losing potential income as they go through this process.
A subcommittee in the Iowa House has passed the “personhood” bill, which says that “from the moment of conception” the state is required to protect all life. Under the bill, a fertilized egg has the same rights as a person that has, well, been born. If this bill passes, women suffering complications of pregnancy would lose the right to make their own decisions. In addition, it could increase the ability for policymakers to make the Morning After Pill illegal.
Regardless of your stance on abortion, you should voice your concerns about these proposed bills. Chances are the funding cuts to Planned Parenthood or the reduced access to abortion is going to affect you more than the majority of people making these laws.